Caring for your baby begins much before you get pregnant and give birth. The importance of taking care of your health can never be overstated. The moment you take the decision about getting pregnant, you should concentrate on ensuring that you are in good health. This not only makes it easier for you to get pregnant, but may also make your pregnancy easier.
A healthy lifestyle which emphasizes on diet and exercises can hinder or boost your chances of conceiving. If you are overweight, your doctor might suggest making changes to your diet and getting more exercise. Losing even a small amount of weight can have a positive effect on your fertility and help you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Lifestyle changes such as giving up alcohol and smoking before trying to get pregnant can also be good for you.
While these are some of the more obvious things, there are some pre-pregnancy check-ups that everyone should have before they try to conceive. These include:
1. General Check-up
Once you get pregnant, you will be visiting your doctor very often. However, a pre-pregnancy general check-up can help you get a better understanding of your health. Starting a pregnancy in optimal health leads to a healthier pregnancy throughout. At the preconception stage, your doctor will discuss things like your medical history, menstrual periods, birth control you’re using, any previous pregnancy, and lifestyle habits. They will try and get an overall view of your health and may also address any chronic health issues like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid issues, asthma, and autoimmune disorders to ensure they are under control before you become pregnant.
It is better for your partner to see a doctor too. He can also expect some tests and discussions about any lifestyle factors he may have that affect his fertility or pregnancy.
If you’re planning to become pregnant, vaccination may be a part of your preconception check-up. Your doctor will want to confirm if your vaccinations are up to date so that you can avoid illnesses that harm your pregnancy or your baby. Essential vaccines include Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), Hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and chickenpox. You can also get a flu shot before or during your pregnancy. Ideally, you should get all the necessary vaccines about 3-6 months before you plan to become pregnant. Talk to our experts at KIMS Cuddles and find out more about vaccinations.
3. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted infections can have a negative impact on your baby’s health. Untreated STIs can cause serious complications on your pregnancy as well as on your fetus. Infections such as chlamydia have been linked to preterm labor and low birth weight; gonorrhea can lead to miscarriages, premature birth and low birth weight; and syphilis has also been linked to premature birth as well as stillbirth, and problems with baby’s organs such as heart, brain, skin, eyes, and bones.
Your doctor will check to ascertain if you have any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, HIV, hepatitis, and others during your first prenatal visit. However, most doctors recommend both partners to get screened for these before conceiving. This helps prospective parents to take the necessary treatment and precautions to protect their baby.
4. Genetic Testing
Understanding more about genetic testing can be beneficial for all parents-to-be so that they can make an informed decision about the right option for them. Carrier screening is pre-pregnancy genetic testing that is done using a blood sample or tissue from a swab inside the check. This test helps determine if either partner carries abnormal genes that are linked to certain diseases that could get passed on to the baby.
If you are thinking about trying to conceive, you may not need all the tests available. Your doctor may ask you to test for the most common inheritable disorders such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Early testing can help the parents detect the presence of an abnormal gene and decide if they want to pursue the pregnancy or not. In addition, screening before becoming pregnant also gives you the option to do in vitro fertilization (IVF) and preimplantation genetic testing, which identifies genetic defects in embryos before implantation.
5. Dental Check-up
Dental health can play a crucial role in your pregnancy. When you’re expecting, your body goes through several hormonal changes that may cause excessive gum inflammation known as pregnancy gingivitis. This may make you more susceptible to gum disease which can increase the risk for preterm delivery and low birth weight. Having a dental check-up before getting pregnant can also help you avoid exposure to radiation by way of dental X-rays during pregnancy. Therefore it is best to make sure your teeth and are in good shape before you’re pregnant.
6. Mental Health Check
When you’re planning to become pregnant, emotional well-being is as important as physical well-being. Many women experience mental health issues such as depression before, during, or after pregnancy. Therefore it is important to ensure that your mental health is good before pregnancy. If you’ve previously suffered from mental health problems, talk to our doctors at KIMS Cuddles. Pregnancy in itself can bring on new symptoms or worsen existing ones.
Your doctor can help you with strategies to cope with stress so that you are better equipped to handle emotional changes during and after pregnancy. You could also be advised to take medication if necessary. It is important to give mental health enough time to get the right care before, during and after pregnancy.
Making sure your health is in top shape can help you have a healthy pregnancy. Going for pre-pregnancy check-ups can assist you in taking preventive actions in a timely manner, if needed. Visit our doctors at KIMS Cuddles who will explain the various aspects of pregnancy and advice the necessary check-ups that you and your partner need before you start trying.